The Alpha B-School

first_imgYear after year, as the media reports on the best business schools in India, there is breathless commentary on the salary packages and placements at the country’s top institutes. I doubt that this will be changing anytime soon. After all, for those who are looking to break through economic barriers,Year after year, as the media reports on the best business schools in India, there is breathless commentary on the salary packages and placements at the country’s top institutes. I doubt that this will be changing anytime soon. After all, for those who are looking to break through economic barriers by landing fat-cheque corporate jobs, this is a natural reason to rejoice and celebrate-an academic institution that churns out top business executives who go on to achieve global acclaim.Among the many B-schools in India, the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (or IIM-A), is, simply put, at the very peak of management education. The institute’s world-renowned status is cemented further every year when corporates make their selections from the many graduates during placement season. However, this is a somewhat recent trend-I recall a time when eye-popping salary packages were not the norm at B-school placement drives. For example, Sanjeev Bikhchandani, the founder of Info Edge (which owns job portal, tells me that when he graduated from IIM-A in 1989, there weren’t too many corporates arriving on campus to hire graduates. However, by 1992, the situation was much closer to what it is today. Consulting firms and FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) companies had begun to arrive on campus by then, and that year, the world-renowned consulting firm McKinsey hired two graduates for the first time from an Indian business school.However, beyond the myopic view of placements at renowned companies and the accompanying high salaries, the reason IIM-A is considered the best amongst the best is because of the quality of professors, the amazing peer groups and the institute’s multi-dimensional education, which shapes students for life. This fundamental excellence of institutes like IIM-A is why they commanded a great deal of respect even in the past-higher education at best-in-class institutes is a privilege in its own right.advertisementI got into St Stephen’s for my Bachelors and majored in Economics. I took it relatively easy throughout college, but I was quite sure about what I wanted to do next. The path to a corporate career through one of the Indian Institutes of Management seemed like the most natural choice. (It’s another matter that I chose not to carry on with a corporate career for too long and took the entrepreneurial plunge just a few years into my job.) After graduating from St Stephen’s, I applied to the IIMs, XLRI and FMS. It was a nice kick to get interview calls from all the B-schools I had applied to, but I felt my efforts truly paid off when I got into IIM Ahmedabad. Initially, you think you are the cat’s whiskers since you managed to get into the best B-school in the country. But you realise very soon that you may be a big fish in your little pond, but out in the ocean, you are indeed insignificant. The first MANAC (management accounting) quiz brought me down to earth with a thud. It was the only D of my life. I was miserable because I had never got marks like this. I knew it was time to pull my socks up. Quickly enough, I found my groove. One of the most outstanding aspect of studying at IIM-A is getting to learn from the most luminous faculty-professors that push you to think broadly and sharply, to diagnose and define problems precisely and to solve them systematically and coherently. I remember learning from Professor A.K. Jain, who has been teacher extraordinaire to over 40 batches of IIM-A graduates. He pressed us to never settle for anything less than a laser-sharp analysis of every fact and figure at our disposal. Those of us who have been through case discussions with him and were called to make class presentations can never forget his string of “whys” and “so whats” as he relentlessly pushed us to find the right answers. Whatever comforting illusions we harboured about being some of the smartest students in the country were quite swiftly demolished when we found ourselves in the firing line of his probing questions. It went a long way in teaching us that to find the right answer, you have to ask the right questions first. It also taught us a thing or two about humility.IIM-A is also one of the national pioneers of the case-study approach to learning management principles, which is an example of the institute’s focus on applied learning. This case-study approach not only increases student-teacher engagement, but also encourages greater interaction between students, leading to participative learning and group work. This pioneering effort came as a result of IIM-A’s collaboration with Harvard Business School, and is today a way of life for teachers and students.advertisement While it is awe-inspiring to be surrounded by some of the most brilliant and talented minds in the country, the fiercely competitive atmosphere and the incredible learning on campus, one can’t help but also marvel at the ability of students to pursue other interests as well. Despite the rigorous coursework, IIM-A also provides a plethora of extra-curricular activities-sports, debates, casual interaction with faculty and so much more-to help students develop well-rounded personalities.The initial unadorned style of architecture by the famed Louis Kahn at the old campus-crafted entirely out of red brick-now has the bare grey cement of the new campus for company. However, both remain striking to students and visitors alike. What makes the institution even more remarkable is the state-of-the-art infrastructure it houses and the future-ready curriculum it offers to groom leaders of tomorrow. In what can only be termed an ironic twist, back in the nineties, IIM-A offered a course on entrepreneurship which I opted out of. It was only later in life that I learned that I wanted to build something of my own more than leading a corporate life. Post-MBA, I chose to do a stint with ABN Amro and then GE Money, but a lack of sense of personal achievement gnawed at me and I was itching to do more. I was bitten by the internet bug and I believed that business-as-usual was going to change for the good with the internet democratising information in previously unimagined ways. A meeting with a venture capitalist at a mall in Mumbai was the starting point-we excitedly jotted down a new business plan on a paper napkin and the rest is history.I am happy to note that the institute is today producing more entrepreneurs than ever before. Some of the students are even choosing to opt out of placements to start something of their own-it may be a small fraction, but it’s a start. At the time that I gave up my corporate job to start something of my own, I was amongst a handful of people from IIM-A who set out on a different course. And then there are alumni who are choosing to become social entrepreneurs, challenging the perception that business schools churn out only capitalist leaders. Organisations like Give India, which channel funding to certified non-profit donors; pioneer of microlending in India Basix or charity organisations like Prayaas have all been founded and run by IIM-A alumni. With collaborations with the world’s best business schools, a deep engagement in research, campus visits by renowned academics including Nobel laureates and as a centre for innovation incubation and entrepreneurship-IIM-A continues to keep up with the changing requirements for a world-class education. Being an alumnus, it’s hard for me to be unbiased, but having been in touch with the faculty, alumni network and the institute, I am exceedingly optimistic about IIM-A’s future.advertisement(Deep Kalra is an alumnus of IIM-Ahmedabad and CEO, read more

Oregon WR Reportedly Enters NCAA Transfer Portal

first_imgA picture of a green Oregon Ducks helmet.SCOTTSDALE, AZ – JANUARY 09: A helmet for the Oregon Ducks is displayed during a press conference for the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game against the Auburn Tigers at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn on January 9, 2011 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)Oregon football has been hit with a few transfers already this season. Another Duck has reportedly entered his name in the NCAA transfer portal.Senior WR Brenden Schooler is opting to transfer to a new school for the 2020 season.The timing of the move is a bit surprising. Just last week, Schooler was the team’s model in their weekly uniform release as seen below.Blizzard of awe coming to the Emerald City. Week 8 uni combo for @OregonFootball. #GoDucks— GoDucks (@GoDucks) October 18, 2019 Of course, there’s always the possibility he eventually removes his name from the portal and stays with Oregon. But it’s likely Schooler will be a graduate transfer. The news was first reported by James Crepea of The Oregonian.Schooler missed the first few games of the 2019 season due to a foot injury. As a result, he will be able to utilize this year as redshirt year.The Oregon receiver was a swiss-army knife type of player for the Ducks. He played safety during his freshman season. Entering his second-year, the Ducks had nearly no depth at receiver, so Schooler made a position change to help the team.He’s stuck at receiver ever since and even became a starter for the Ducks. But Schooler’s biggest contributions came on special teams, where he was often tabbed the Ducks’ best kickoff coverage player. He was twice selected to the Pac-12 All-Conference 1st team as a special teams player.The former Oregon receiver was a starter for the Oregon offense. But has just two catches for 44 yards in three games this season.Schooler’s brother, Colin, is a linebacker for the University of Arizona. It’s unclear as to where Schooler will end up, but Arizona seems like a potential landing spot.last_img read more

Holiday Travel Increases 15 Percent This Year, While Puerto Rico Makes a Comeback

first_imgMexico City and Nassau, Bahamas Crack Allianz Global Assistance’s Top 10 Holiday Destinations for First Time  Richmond, VA, December 10, 2018 – According to Allianz Global Assistance’s 2018 Top Holiday Destinations Report, American travel increased 15 percent this holiday season over last year. New York City and Cancun continue to reign as the most popular domestic and international destinations. After reviewing American plans* to travel from December 19 to December 27, 2018, Allianz Global Assistance found that warmer-weather international getaways once again prevailed, with Cancun, Mexico; San Juan, Puerto Rico; San Jose del Cabo, Mexico; Nassau, Bahamas; and Montego Bay, Jamaica, claiming the top five slots. As the only non-tropical destination to make the international top 10, London placed sixth, dropping from second last year, followed by Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Mexico City, Mexico; Higuey, Dominican Republic; and Aruba. This is the first time Mexico City and Nassau, Bahamas were included in Allianz’s Top Holiday Destinations Report for international travel. New York City took the number one domestic spot again, followed by Los Angeles, Orlando, Boston, Seattle, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City. Boston jumped to fourth from 10th place, and San Francisco climbed back into the top 10 this year, knocking Denver out of the ranking. “Our holiday travel survey revealed that travel is up 15 percent over last year. Mexico City, named 2018’s World Design Capital® by World Design Organization (WDO), is a first-timer to the list, while Puerto Rico jumped up to the second most popular international destination,” said Daniel Durazo, director of marketing and communications for Allianz Global Assistance USA. “Whether you’re escaping to a sunny beach or exploring a new city, the busy holiday season can bring with it unpredictable winter weather delays or illnesses. It’s a good idea to protect your holiday trip with the right travel insurance policy** for extra peace of mind to reach your destination safely.” In addition to travel insurance**, Allianz Global Assistance recommends these tips and resources when traveling over the holidays and year-round: When possible, avoid traveling on the busiest travel dates (in terms of volume, most Americans have plans to travel on Friday, December 21 and return on Wednesday, December 26)Wash hands and carry anti-bacterial hand gel to prevent sicknessDownload Allianz’s TravelSmart™ app to quickly access assistance, file and track claims, check flight status in real-time, translate first aid/medical terms and moreWith its new customer-friendly SmartBenefitsSM, Allianz travel protection features new proactive payments and allows travelers to file other travel delay and baggage delay claims with no receipts Allianz Global Assistance offers travel insurance** through most major U.S. airlines, leading travel agents, online travel agencies and directly to consumers. For more information on Allianz Global Assistance and the policies offered for travelers, please visit: or like us on Facebook at 2018 Rank2017 RankDomestic Destination11New York23Los Angeles32Orlando410Boston56Seattle64Atlanta75Fort Lauderdale8n/aSan Francisco98Minneapolis109Salt Lake City2018 Rank2017 RankInternational Destination11Cancun, Mexico25San Juan, Puerto Rico33San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico4n/aNassau, Bahamas57Montego Bay, Jamaica62London, United Kingdom74Puerto Vallarta, Mexico8n/aMexico City, Mexico96Higuey, Dominican Republic1010Aruba, Aruba  Allianz Global Assistance USAAllianz Global Assistance USA is a leading consumer specialty insurance and assistance company with operation centers in 35 countries. In the United States, Allianz Global Assistance USA (AGA Service Company) serves 35 million customers annually and is best known for its Allianz Travel Insurance plans. In addition to travel insurance, Allianz Global Assistance USA offers tuition insurance, event ticket protection, registration protection for endurance events and unique travel assistance services such as international medical assistance and concierge services. The company also serves as an outsource provider for in-bound call center services and claims administration for property and casualty insurers and credit card companies. To learn more about Allianz Travel Insurance, please visit or Like us on Facebook at read more

Closing Bell TSX advances amid hopes ECB set to take action on

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed higher Wednesday as buyers hoped that the European Central Bank will unveil measures to help contain the eurozone debt crisis.Here are the closing numbersTSX — 11,990.14 +48.44 0.41%S&P 500 — 1,403.44 -1.50 -0.11%Dow — 13,047.48 +11.54 0.09%Nasdaq — 3,069.27 -5.79 -0.19%The S&P/TSX composite index rose 48.44 points to 11,990.14 led by financial and mining stocks while copper prices advanced for a third day, while the TSX Venture Exchange added 3.69 points to 1,246.27.The Canadian dollar was lower ahead of the ECB announcement and Canadian jobs data which also comes out on Friday, falling 0.52 of a cent at 100.92 cents US.As expected, The Bank of Canada left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at one% while warning that rates will have to rise at some point in the future. The central bank also said that there has been a widespread slowing of activity across most economies.The loonie seemed unaffected by Tuesday’s Quebec election which saw the pro-independence Parti Quebecois win the contest, but only securing a minority government.New York markets were little changed. The Dow Jones industrials were up 11.54 points to 13,047.48, the Nasdaq composite index was down 5.79 points to 3,069.27 and the S&P 500 index eased 1.5 points to 1,403.44.Traders anxiously awaited Thursday’s interest rate announcement from the European Central Bank amid hopes the ECB will move to ease the eurozone debt crisis by addressing the high borrowing costs that have bedevilled some of the weakest members of the monetary union, particularly Spain. It is expected some sort of bond-buying program will be announced but it would come with strings attached.To be eligible for the central bank’s help, for example, countries would likely have to formally apply for assistance from the eurozone’s rescue facility and accept conditions on their budget policies, which many governments would be reluctant to do.“The best thing we can hope for is the European Central Bank to get its firepower all lined up and try to cap rates and do that in a way that doesn’t stoke inflation and allows time to pass and finances to get a bit healthier,” said Paul Vaillancourt, vice president and chief investment officer at Canadian Wealth Management.“In times of crisis, sometimes the best you can expect is do no harm.”Investor sentiment improved somewhat as Bloomberg News reported European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s bond-buying program involves unlimited purchases of government debt.Europe’s economy also remains fundamentally weak. A survey of the eurozone’s services sector on Wednesday showed the sector continued to contract in August. The so-called purchasing managers’ index fell more than earlier estimated, suggesting the currency bloc is headed for a sharp drop in GDP in the third quarter.Markets also looked ahead to Friday’s release of the August non-farm payrolls report to see if a weak report would persuade the U.S. Federal Reserve to embark on another round of stimulus.Nervousness about a slowing global outlook was heightened after FedEx, viewed as an economic bellwether, cut its first-quarter earnings guidance, pointing to weakness in the global economy. Its shares were down two% in New York to US$85.79.Both FedEx and larger rival UPS have warned about the impact of slower economic growth on their results. In July, UPS said customers were worried about what’s in store in the second half of the year. The delivery companies have cut or reduced the frequency of flights in Asia, as shipments both within the region and to Europe and the U.S. have slowed.The base metals sector edged up 0.54% while December copper on the Nymex was up six cents at US$3.53 a pound. Lundin Mining rose 15 cents to $4.57 and Capstone Mining climbed five cents to $2.40.The gold sector was ahead almost 1% as December bullion shed $2 to US$1,694 an ounce. Goldcorp Inc. added 38 cents to C$40.45.The financials sector was up 0.67% with TD Bank ahead 89 cents at $81.13 and Royal Bank climbed 78 cents to $55.64.The energy sector was slightly higher with the October crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange ahead six cents to US$95.36 a barrel. Imperial Oil climbed $1.28 to C$46.35.Utilities led decliners as TransAlta fell 57 cents to $14.11.TransCanada Corp. says it has submitted a supplemental environmental report to Nebraskan authorities on the preferred alternative route for its Keystone XL pipeline.TransCanada says the filing reflects feedback both from state regulators and the public. It also respects state timelines and the overall regulatory process for determining a reroute of the controversial pipeline as requested by the U.S. State Department. TransCanada shares were unchanged at $44.88.Elsewhere on the corporate front, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. cites costs related to its acquisition of Statoil Fuel & Retail for a 26% drop in quarterly net earnings. The Quebec-based convenience store and fuel station operator posted net profits of US$102.9-million, or 57 cents per diluted share in the quarter ended July 22. Its shares fell $1.13 to $49.07.Nokia revealed its first smartphones to run the next version of Windows, a big step for a company that has bet its future on an alliance with Microsoft. Investors were disappointed, and Nokia’s stock fell 16.25% to US$2.37 in New York.Shares in BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. hit a new 52-week low of $6.45 before recovering slightly to close down eight cents to $6.46.Its stock hit the new milestone as Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley said in a research report that he expects RIM to release its BlackBerry 10 smartphone as scheduled in the first quarter of next year. But he says that RIM has lost too much smartphone market share to Apple and Android and will mightily struggle to win back consumers even if BlackBerry 10 smartphones are very competitive and compelling products.Here’s the news investors were watching today:Bank of Canada holds rate steady as global storm clouds gatherPQ win throws corporate deals, resource development into questionCanada steadily losing competitive edgeNokia shares tumble after Lumia 820, 920 debut disappoints investorsON DECK THURSDAYECONOMIC NEWSEuropean Central Bank announces policy decision in efforts to ease sovereign debt crisis Bank of England announces interest rate decision UNITED STATES7:30 a.m.Challenger Layoff Report (Aug) 8:15 a.m.ADP National Employment Report (Aug): Economists expect gain of 140,000 jobs 8:30 a.m.Weekly jobless claims: Economists expect 370,000 new claims 10 a.m.Non-manufacturing ISM index (Aug): Economists expect a reading of 52.5, flat with last month CORPORATE NEWSCANADATranscontinental Q3 earnings: Analysts expect 41¢ a share read more